A Reformation 500 Treat

Over the last few days I think I’ve read the words “95 theses” about 95 times, such is the buzz in the blogosphere about the anniversary of the birth of the Protestant Reformation. If you’re not aware, the 95 theses were a series of propositions contained in a document penned by Martin Luther in 1517 in order to voice his displeasure concerning the abusive practices of the Roman Catholic church.

The document was widely circulated throughout Germany and other parts of Europe and today, exactly 500 years from the day Luther nailed the document to the church door in Wittenberg, there is celebration among reformers who see Luther’s actions as a landmark in church history.

Whatever your denominational persuasion, it’s hard to deny the impact that the Reformation has had in Europe and elsewhere. In many European countries, the Lutheran church is still the state church and there are approximately 72 million people in the Lutheran World Federation communion.

Other denominations sprang up out of the Reformation movement as well, most notably the Calvinist (or ‘Reformed’) churches, named after French theologian John Calvin, and there are currently approximately 80 million people who are members of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

At the heart of the Reformation movement was a return to the Bible as the sole infallible rule of faith for the church. In Roman Catholicism, both the Bible and tradition are seen as authorities, but the reformers insisted on sola scriptura (scripture alone). Every Christian must ask him-or-herself,Β  “Who or what is my authority in matters of faith?” Rome has historically had one answer, and the Reformed tradition another. This is still the case 500 years on.

As well as being (among other things) a monk and theologian, Martin Luther wrote many hymns, and I’d like to offer you all a special Reformation 500 treat which is a heavy metal version of Luther’s most famous hymn ‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God’. I love this arrangement by Tim Bushong and I hope you enjoy it too.

Did the 16th century Protestant Reformation go far enough? Many Christians today are asking that question, and a new movement has been birthed which is seeking to return to the kind of Christianity we read about in the Book of Acts. For more information on this new (final?) reformation, visit The Last Reformation website.

15 comments

  1. Thank you for the heavy metal version of Luther’s most famous hymn – it was really good.

    Of all the reformers, Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) was the only one who held a panentheistic view of God. He said, β€œGod must be present in every single creature in its innermost and outermost being, on all sides through and through, below and above, before and behind, so that nothing can be truly present and within all creatures than God Himself with His power.”

    I can remember when there were two hospitals in Cambridge: Old and New Addenbrooke’s. Below is a link that shows that the last patient in the Old was moved to the New in October 1984:

    https://www.cuh.nhs.uk/corporate-information/about-us/our-profile/history

    It’s a trifle presumptive to call a movement The Last Reformation since God is timeless and we truly do not know when Christ’s second coming will occur. There are many who have tried to interpret the signs before and they have been disappointed when the End Times did not occur.

    Peace and love to all humanity,

    Dinos

    1. Hi Dinos!

      Glad you enjoyed the hymn πŸ™‚

      You mentioned hospitals in Cambridge but I didn’t understand the relevance of that to the Reformation? What am I missing?

      Thanks and best wishes,

      Steven

      1. Hi Steven

        I was making a simple point using the Old and New hospitals as an allegory: after the Old was closed, the New ceased to be called New Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Similarly, a movement that calls itself The Last Reformation will cease to be called the ‘Last’ if it is succeeded by another. This is a universal truth.

        Peace and love to you, Steven,

        Dinos

  2. Thanks for the fine summary/introduction for the uninitiated. It would be hard to overestimate Luther’s significance, but neither should he be pedestal-ized. I agree with the idea (somewhere in the above comments) that it’s a bit presumptuous to consider any particular reformation or restoration the “final” one. As you might have seen, I recently wrote about another reforming effort here: https://blcasey.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/again-with-the-reforming .

    I’d say it behooves any of us to realize that reforming is a process to be engaged in perpetually…..

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